Monday, October 19, 2009

Skyping with Jeff Jarvis

Earlier today, my Cronkite School business-of-media class had a Skype-enabled Q&A conversation with CUNY professor and author Jeff Jarvis. Talk about practice what you preach.

Jarvis has been a consistent resource for my media professor, Tim McGuire. If Jarvis could get a telepathic 'hit' for ever time the words "Jarvis says..." authoritatively passed my professor's lips, I'm sure he would absolutely love our class by now. Jarvis says that companies in the age of the Internet must open up. Jarvis says proprietary standards are obsolete. Jarvis says media companies must create platforms for communities. That's not to say my professor doesn't have his own opinions about what "Jarvis says," but suffice it to say, he has a substantial impact on class discussion.

Today, however, the class took a step toward making what "Jarvis says" a reality. Using a camera-enabled mac and the free Internet-video-chatting program Skype, a journalism class in Phoenix, Arizona, was effectively taught by a journalism professor in New York City. I can think of no better example of a "flat world," as Thomas Friedman calls it.

Traditionally, universities have flouted the quality of their professors to attract students. Well look out, because our experience today seems to indicate students and professors no longer need universities to bring them together. As seems to be the ruling aphorism of our generation: the Internet make it possible.

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